Oh no... the topic from hell ... err, about hell... again!
Rather than trying to answer the question in some way, I will mention a point of connection instead.Blood rolls down a lashed back. Tears and mucous choke the cries of pain. You recognize the face of this person as your best friend. Broken flesh reveals the lung cavity of an agonized young girl. Worms eat away at her lungs and heart as she coughs up blood. This was your daughter. An older man, is chained at one end of his hands and feet and is being pulled apart as his sockets rip apart, then are mended and then ripped apart again, over and over again. You recognize this as that amazing high school teacher you would never forget who helped you everyday after school on the math you couldn't ever do right. A dark bottomless pit fills with water, and there is a women trying to stay above the water, yet she continues to drown. Her, you recognize as your mother.... (etc)
Have you read Neil Gaiman's "Seasons of Mist" in his Sandman graphic novel story?
He explores the same topics as you do, when he scripts a dramatic arc where Lucifer decides he's done playing patsy and decides to shut down Hell and go away.
There's one evocative scene where a naked man is nailed and chained through his skin to a large rock, and Lucifer goes to tell him he's released.
Lucifer: You! Did you not hear my proclamation? You are free.
Breschau: I... will... not... leave.
Lucifer: Oh, but you WILL leave.
Breschau: You... do... not understand. I am Breschau.
Breschau: I am receiving just punishment for my crimes committed while I was alive. For my crimes were MONSTROUS things.
Lucifer: I don't care about your crimes. I want you OUT of here.
Breschau: Demon, I will not be fooled by your prattle. I am Breschau of Livonia. I ripped out hte tongues of those who spoke against me, and cut the unborn babies from the wombs of my enemies' women, that they would not become warriors to rise against me. // I took my mother by force, and I strangled my sister when she would not consent to my advances. // Soon my name was whispered in the night by mothers to terrify their babes into obedience. I am Breschau who bathed int he blood of children. // I am Breschau who forced the true prophets of the lord to dance upon plates of iron, under which fires were burning, and I laughed at they danced. // I am Breschau, and when my mistress was unfaithful, I cut the nose from her face and worse it about my neck. AS for the woman, I had her sewn to her lover, and skin to skin, I left them in the desert to be eaten by ravens, and I laughed as I heard them scream. // I am Breschau, and this is my punishment.
Lucifer: You must go.
Breschau: Did you not HEAR me, fiend? I have KILLED --
Lucifer: I heard. You killed a number of people who would be now long-since dead anyway. So what? You've been chained to this slab for eleven hundred years. Haven't you tortured yourself enough?
Breschau: It's not me that is torturing me. It's the vengeance of the LORD -- Did you not hear? I -
Lucifer: -- am Breschau. Yes, I know. // But no one today remembers Breschau. No one. I doubt one living mortal in a hundred of thousand could even point where Livonia used to be, on a map. The world has forgotten you.
Breschau: But... I .... am...
Lucfier: ENOUGH. Go.
[Breschau is released.]
Later, Lucifer is talking to Morpheus, lord of dreams, and says. "... they live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them. // and then they die and come here (having transgressed against what they believed to be right) and expect US to fulfill their desire for pain and retribution. I don't make them come here. // They talk of me going around and buying souls like a fishwife come market day, never stopping to ask themselves why. I need no souls. And how can anyone own a soul? // No, they belong to themselves. They just hate to have to face up to it."
Two angels end up taking Hell over, in service of Heaven, so that punishment can be restored. The two angels decide they want the punishment to have a point -- they are "kinder gentler rulers" than Lucifer had been.
When one demon is flaying the skin from a damned soul, one of the angels flies over and stops him.
Remiel: No. That was the OLD hell. That was a place of mindless torture and purposeless pain. There will be no more wanton violence, no further suffering inflicted without reason or explanation. We will HURT you, and we are NOT sorry. But we do not do it to punish you. We do it to REDEEM you. Because afterwards you'll be a better person. And, because, we love you. One day you'll thank us for it. (flies off)
Victim (calling after, as the punishment begins again): But.. you don't understand. That makes it worse. That makes it so much worse.